Loay market, town hall abandoned; Imboys face investigation at Ombuds

Finding enough basis to proceed with the criminal investigation against former Loay Mayor Rosemarie Lim-Imboy and her daughter-incumbent Loay Mayor Rochelle Brigette Lim Imboy, the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas has ordered the said respondents to file their counter-affidavit and other controverting evidence to the complaint filed by Loay Municipal Councilors Paulino S. Tejano, Tiburcio P. Bullecer, Jr., Nelson C. Lagura and Wilfredo Magileo D. Flores strictly within ten (10) days from the receipt of the Ombudsman order. The Order of the Ombudsman was received by the respondents and complainants on August 14, 2018.

The Ombudsman has warned the respondents that failure to comply as directed within the period prescribed by the rules shall be deemed a waiver of the right to present the party’s counter affidavit. The Ombudsman’s order further reads that motion to dismiss or bill of particulars, and dilatory motions including, but not limited to, motions for extension of time, second motion for reconsideration and/or re-investigation are prohibited pleadings and shall be stricken off the records of the case.

THE CHARGES

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Docketed as OMB-V-C 18-0387, the respondents incumbent Loay Mayor Rochelle Lim Imboy, Loay former Mayor Rosemarie Lim-Imboy and Square Cube Construction are facing a criminal charge for Violation of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Another case on administrative offense, docketed as OMB-V-A-18-0430 for Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service/ Gross Neglect of Duty/ Inefficiency and Incompetence is also slapped on the mother and daughter Mayors.

The complaints revolve around the fate of the two government projects, the Construction of the new Loay Public Market and the Rehabilitation of the Municipal Building, which are not yet completed and both were abandoned by Square Cube Construction, leaving unliquidated damages and loss of opportunities, according to the complainants.

PROJECT HISTORY

On September 15, 2015, a Contract of Agreement was entered into by and between the Local Government Unit of Loay, Bohol, represented by then Mayor Rosemarie Lim-Imboy and the winning bidder, Square Cube Construction represented by Franklin Olaer for the Rehabilitation, Repair of Damaged Municipal at Poblacion Ubos, Loay, Bohol for the amount of Php 32,399,155.04. The agreement says that the contractor shall finish the project within 300 calendar days or until the month of July, 2016.

On October 15, 2015 another Contract of Agreement was entered into by and between the Local Government Unit of Loay, Bohol, represented by then Mayor Rosemarie Lim-Imboy and, again, the winning bidder, Square Cube Construction represented by Franklin Olaer for the Construction of the Loay Public Market in the amount of Php 21,149,880.21 and to be finished within 240 calendar days or eight months or until the month of June 2016.

THE COMPLAINTS

The Complainants articulated before the Ombudsman, citing several reasons in its complaints, that violations to the law have been committed by the respondents for failure to do what is supposed to be done as chief executives who have the responsibilities to safeguard and defend the interest of the government.

The complainants lamented that the former Mayor Imboy was still eight months in her office to handle and take care of the two projects. They said that the two projects should have been finished already or at least near to its completion before the former Mayor steps down from office in June 30, 2016. The complainants noted that only 19% is the recorded completion in the Public Market Project while in the rehabilitation of the Municipal Building, it never had a percentage of completion as of June 30, 2016 when the former Mayor Imboy stepped down from office.

The complainants, in their affidavits, alleged that the former Mayor Rosemarie Imboy never did any action against square cube construction despite the clear and manifest violation made by the contractor in the delayed implementation and completion of the two projects. The complainants further said that the former Mayor Imboy, despite the delay of the two projects, never acted to run after the Performance Bond and Surety Bond posted by Square cube.

The same affidavit of the complainants also hit the incumbent Mayor Rochelle Brigette Imboy for letting the Performance Bonds and Surety Bonds lapsed without action taken against the bonding agency to the damage and prejudice of the LGU of Loay, the complainants said.

THE SANGGUNIAN ACTIONS

With much desire for the continuation of the two projects and for recovering the losses incurred by the LGU due to the abandonment of the two projects, several resolutions have been passed by the Sanggunian Bayan of Loay covering the period from 2016 to 2018.

In the affidavit submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, the complainants cited ten SB Resolutions that according to the complainants, just fell on the deaf ear of the incumbent Mayor Rochelle Imboy and Square Cube Construction.

The numerous SB resolutions, most of them were addressed to the incumbent Mayor Rochelle Imboy for her to run after the Proprietor of Square Construction by taking legal actions, were not acted upon, claimed the complainants. The complainants further alleged that the incumbent Mayor Rochelle Imboy did not give an update to the SB regarding the filing of appropriate charges even if the SB has approved a Resolution that sought for such an update.

According to the complainants aside from the SB Resolutions, there were also two separate resolutions that were approved by the Bids and Awards Committee. One was a Resolution that recommends to the Head of the Procurement Entity (Mayor) to file Legal Actions to Square Cube construction which may deemed appropriate, which was approved in September 2, 2016. And the other one was a Resolution that reiterates the said request to the Mayor which was approved in December 20, 2016.

The complainants articulated that so much time and several opportunities had been given to the incumbent Mayor Rochelle Imboy to run after Square Cube for the inconvenience and damage it caused to the LGU of Loay and the Loayano people for abandoning the Loay Public Market Project and the Rehabilitation of the Loay Town Hall which resulted to the loss of people’s money, the continued suffering of the people for the absence of basic government facilities and the continued shame to the Loayano people.

With the inaction of the respondents to advance and defend the interest of the LGU of Loay and for neglecting the several resolutions approved by the Sanggunian Bayan, it is very clear that there exists a probable cause to charge the respondents for the crime involving violations of Republic Act No. 3019 Paragraph 3 (e), the complainants concluded.



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